Chemistry professor awarded prestigious Israeli research award for work in alternative fuels

Yvonne Kim, Assistant Campus Editor

Chemistry Prof. Mercouri Kanatzidis will go to Israel to receive the world’s largest monetary award for alternative fuel research.

Kanatzidis is a recipient of the $1 million Eric and Sheila Samson Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in Alternative Fuels for Transportation.

The inorganic chemist has worked with Massachusetts Institute of Technology chemistry Prof. Gregory Stephanopoulos — with whom he will share the prize equally — in alternative fuel development. They are being recognized for their research on automobile fossil fuel reduction and thermoelectrics, which are semiconductors that convert heat into electricity.

Kanatzidis heard the news Oct. 5 while at the press conference for chemistry Prof. Sir Fraser Stoddart’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry, according to a news release,

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis announced the winners and congratulated them for their “marvelous scientific achievements.”

“I am proud that Israel is taking an active part in supporting innovative science to promote alternative fuels for transportation,” Netanyahu said in a news release. “This will make our world cleaner, safer and sustainable.”

Kanatzidis and Stephanopoulos will be honored in Israel on Nov. 2 at the fourth annual Fuel Choices Summit in Tel Aviv.

“I was speechless when I heard the news from Israel,” Kanatzidis said in the news release. “Some people have to go to Stockholm, and I have to go to Tel Aviv. I am very OK with that.”

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